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Short Subjectives

Capsule reviews of films by CL critics


Opening Friday
BRIGHT LEAVES (NR) See interview.

THE GRUDGE (PG-13) Japan's Takashi Shimizu directs the Hollywood remake of his own Ju-on: The Grudge, a time-fractured ghost story about a haunted house that targets the innocent souls who enter it. Sarah Michelle Gellar of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fame stars.

ROSENSTRASSE (PG-13) This moving -- but slow-moving -- "chick flick" about the Holocaust, directed by Margarethe von Trotta, depicts a mother and daughter who keep secrets for no reason, other than the screenwriters' whim. The daughter (Maria Schrader) needlessly conceals her identity to learn about her mother's past from the woman who adopted her in 1943 while Aryan women attempted to free their Jewish husbands awaiting deportation at a Berlin detention center. Lefont Garden Hills Cinema. -- Steve Warren

STAGE BEAUTY (R) With romance, intrigue, humor and gender-bending for days, Stage Beauty is the movie the overrated Shakespeare in Love should have been. Billy Crudup stars as Ned Kynaston, London's leading male diva in the 1660s until King Charles II (Rupert Everett) declares women can play women's roles onstage and men can't. Claire Danes shines as the woman who loves Ned (although he prefers men), takes over the roles he can no longer play and tries to butch him up for personal and professional reasons. As gender barriers continue to topple, Stage Beauty has a contemporary relevance without straining for parallels. -- SW

SURVIVING CHRISTMAS (PG-13) A lonely yuppie (Ben Affleck) pays the new residents of his childhood home to "adopt" him for the holidays. James Gandolfini, Catherine O'Hara and Christina Applegate play members of his new family.

VERA DRAKE (R) See review.

Duly Noted
BUSH'S BRAIN (NR) See review.

CHISHOLM '72: UNBOUGHT & UNBOSSED (NR) Shola Lynch's documentary profiles Shirley Chisholm, who in 1968 was the first black woman elected to Congress, and in 1972, the first to run for president. Oct. 28, 7:30 p.m. Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site screening room, 450 Auburn Ave. Free. 404-352-4225.

EYEDRUM FILM AND VIDEO NIGHT (NR) The gallery presents an evening of short works by local video and independent film artists. Oct. 27, 8:30 p.m. Eyedrum, 290 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. $3. 404-522-0655.

FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (R) Michael Moore's fiery polemic about post-9/11 politics sheds more heat than light, but deserves attention for the questions it raises about some of the major issues of modern American history. Moore levels his trademark sarcasm at George W. Bush, but spends most of the film despairing over the economic forces that send young people into military service at the time of an unjustified war with Iraq. Despite its fuzzy reasoning and incomplete arguments (Moore never acknowledges Saddam Hussein's blood-drenched human rights record, for instance), it remains one of the most urgent and explosive documentaries ever made. Thurs., Oct. 21, call for times. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- Curt Holman

THE FARMER'S PERJURY (1956) (NR) With a dynamic like a rural Romeo and Juliet, a young couple in love spend years trying to overcome the hatred that separates their respective families. The German Heimatfilm of the '50s. Oct. 27, 7 p.m. Goethe Institut Inter Nationes, 1197 Peachtree St., Colony Square. $4. 404-892-2388.

HAVANA SUITE (2003) (NR) This dialogue-free documentary presents a day in the life of 10 Cubans, with native music accompanying their routine activities. Latin American Film Festival. Sat., Oct. 23, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium, 1280 Peachtree St.; and Oct. 27, 7:30 p.m. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. $5. 404-733-4570.

HIJACKING CATASTROPHE: 9/11, FEAR AND THE SELLING OF AMERICAN EMPIRE (NR) The Media Education Foundation produced this polemic about many of the same Bush administration critiques found in Fahrenheit 9/11, only with a straighter face. Thurs., Oct. 21, call for times. Cinefest, GSU University Center, Suite 211, 66 Courtland St. 404-651-3565. -- CH

KAMCHATKA (2002) (NR) Ricardo Darin of Nine Queens stars in this enigmatic Argentine drama about a family who goes into hiding for reasons unknown to the young sons. Latin American Film Festival. Fri., Oct. 22, 8 p.m. Woodruff Arts Center, Rich Auditorium, 1280 Peachtree St. $5. 404-733-4570.

THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS (1993) (PG) The skeletal lord of Halloween gets a serious case of Christmas spirit and decides to replace Santa Claus, with chaotic results, in this stop-motion animated musical produced by Tim Burton. With more big laughs and fewer downbeat Danny Elfman songs, it could be a genuine classic, but as is, it offers such visual delights that nearly every frame qualifies as a work of art. Fri.-Sat., Oct. 22-23, midnight. Landmark Midtown Art Cinema, 931 Monroe Drive. -- CH

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